Gamecocks outlast Griffs in overtime

Reese

Isaiah Reese hit a buzzer-beating shot to force overtime in Wednesday’s game against Jacksonville State. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Nolan Hopkins

Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team fell to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Wednesday, 80-78, in overtime.

The Gamecocks opened the game with a modest 7-2 run, scoring three times in the paint and hitting one shot from the free throw line. Senior Jermaine Crumpton gave his squad a spark after scoring five quick points to tie the game in the early stages.

The rest of the first half was a back-and-forth affair, highlighted by five lead changes in the first 20 minutes of action.

With seconds ticking off the clock in the first half, a missed Jacksonville State three-pointer with one second left was corralled and put back in for a layup at the buzzer, stretching the Gamecocks’ lead at the half, 37-33.

Both squads again traded buckets for most of the second half with Canisius’ largest leading being three, while Jacksonville State’s was five.

With the Blue and Gold trailing by one, 67-66, with under 20 seconds left, the game turned into a free throw shootout. Both squads traded points from the charity stripe, and with 6.3 seconds left on the clock the Griffs trailed, 71-68.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Reese brought the home crowd to a frenzy after he banked home a three-pointer at the buzzer, sending the game to an extra period tied at 71-71.

In the extra period, the Griffs scored the first four points of the period behind buckets from Crumpton and Reese. However, Jacksonville State would not go down without a fight, and after crawling their way back into the game with four made free throws, the Gamecocks would eventually take the lead for good on a layup by Marlon Hamilton with 34 seconds left.

Canisius trailed 80-78 with 15 seconds left after a Jacksonville State missed free throw but sophomore guard Malik Johnson’s three-pointer at the buzzer hit the front of the rim, ending the men’s basketball season.

“Wish we could have pulled this one out but didn’t have enough of what it took on the backboard,” said head coach Reggie Witherspoon. “The turnover difference gave us a chance to win the game, but we got out rebounded as bad as we did.”

The loss also officially closed the curtain on Crumpton’s collegiate career with the Blue and Gold. The Niagara Falls, N.Y., native finished his career sixth on Canisius’ all-time scoring list (1,587) and seventh in the program’s all-time three-pointers made list (159).

Crumpton also finished his senior season on the All-MAAC first-team, and took home Co-Player of the Year honors.

Reese and Crumpton were also both named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division I All-District I Second Team on Thursday.

The Griffs finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 21-12 overall record and a 15-3 record in MAAC play, while also being co-regular season champions.

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